Talking Mindfulness on the C.E.O. Beat – The New York Times

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Talking Mindfulness on the C.E.O. Beat – The New York Times

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And Mark Hoplamazian, the chief executive of Hyatt Hotels, who has dabbled in meditation, spoke about the importance of empathy and mindfulness to his strategy.

“In order to practice empathy, you have to be present, and one great vehicle to being present is to be mindful,” he told me. “Mindfulness became the central element of our wellness investment.”

These C.E.O.s are not alone in embracing mindfulness. Today, plenty of other companies, including Google, Ford and McKinsey, are offering meditation programs in the office.

Though it may be surprising to some that C.E.O.s are so enthusiastic about meditation, it’s a movement I’ve been chronicling for years now. In 2012, I wrote an article for The Financial Times, where I was then a reporter, about General Mills’ efforts to introduce mindfulness to employees. That led to a book deal, and in 2015, I published “Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business From the Inside Out.”

My own meditation practice goes back further than that. After reading a book about Buddhism in college, I started practicing Zen meditation. My curiosity was piqued, and I spent my junior year of college in India, first through the Antioch Buddhist Studies program, and then traveling on my own. For the better part of a year, I roamed the country, living in monasteries, going on 10-day silent meditation retreats and learning from Buddhist teachers. In a matter of months, mindfulness meditation was making me less stressed, more patient and even a bit kinder.

Since then, my meditation practice has ebbed and flowed, though the benefits have remained the same. There are stretches during which I diligently make time to sit on my cushion every day, quietly observing my thoughts, emotions and sensations. Then I’ll go awhile without any formal practice. Then I’ll go on retreat again, as I did this spring, going off the grid for days at a time.

My writing about meditation for The Times is similarly sporadic. I’ve published three guides for the Well section (How to Meditate, Mindfulness for Children and How to Be More Mindful at Work). But ever since a weekly column, Meditation for Real Life, ended last year, we haven’t had a regular feature on the topic.

David Gelles is the Corner Office columnist and a business reporter. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter. @dgelles

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A2 of the New York edition with the headline: Where Business Meets Mindfulness. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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